It’s almost law that you must visit a garden centre at least once over the Easter weekend. Four whole days with the family can sometimes seem a little long if one doesn’t have any plans and ‘I’m just popping to the garden centre’ is the perfect excuse to steal a couple of hours away from your nearest and dearest. The great thing is that these days garden centres are not only about plants.
The addition of cafes and shops have turned some of them into home and garden emporiums. The ultimate being Petersham Nurseries in Richmond, which is worth visiting for the award-winning restaurant alone, even if you hate gardening. There is also a fabulous shop featuring trinkets picked up around the world by owners, husband and wife Francesco and Gael Boglione.
Easter Monday is the perfect time to pop along for afternoon tea and listen to the Thameside Harmony Chorus, a women’s choir, who will be performing a medley of ballads and up tempo tunes between 3pm and 3.45pm.
If we are really honest the garden centres we really love are all about the plants and are a bit more rough and ready. The kind you only really find in the country, where the shop sells horse supplies and dog food and the staff are extremely knowledgeable and passionate about gardening.
But there is really nothing better that finding a hand made sign on the road sign offering tomato plants for sale, ringing on the makeshift bell and being served by a hearty farmers wife in wellies. ‘That’ll be £3.00 for five plants please’ she says and £1.50 for the huge bunch of sunflowers.